Monday, 22 March 2010

Have you ever heard of the idea of 'Paying it forward'...

The idea was formed by Catherine Ryan Hyde in her novel "Pay it Forward" (which was later made into a very moving film).

A simply inspirational idea, instead of paying a favour back to someone when they have done something nice for you, paying the favour forward to someone who is unrelated to the situation. Whilst reading through information about the pay it forward movement I came across a quote by Princess Diana which I feel sums up the idea quite well ...

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

The idea seems to raise a few questions, which I am just going to put forward and answer in case you are thinking them as you read this:

Does this actually work?! : Yes I truly believe it can, if we all believe in it, and we all do this, is there any reason to doubt that it can!?

How will we ever know?! : Perhaps we will never be able to prove it, but if we believe in ourselves and each other, I don't see why it can't work. If we all make a promise to carry out a random act of kindness then of course it can work. I would like to think, and I hope, that this wouldn't just be a one off act, what is the harm in making a conscious effort to do this regularly!? Every day?! Every month?! Every year!?

Perhaps by writing this blog entry, I can spread the word about the idea of Paying it forward?! Perhaps I can persuade YOU to make a difference, starting, like I have on a small scale, something that won't take much effort from you. It doesn't matter how big or small the act is, just do something that you wouldn't necessarily normally do, something that is totally unselfish, something that won't benefit you, something that most likely won't be recognised by anyone except the recipient. Don't tell anyone about it, just live in the knowledge that you did something that has made a positive difference to someone else's life.

Monday, 15 March 2010

The beginning of my journey started in Feb 2010...

...with the decision to make more of an effort to help to make a visible difference in some way by the end of the year. I guess this can be my new years resolution, however I don't want to officially call it that as I fear resolutions have some kind of "curse", I never seem to keep to them. 

At 20 years old I haven't exactly got much to show for what I have done over the years. I feel that although I may have achieved a lot personally, nothing that I have achieved yet has had any visible positive consequence for anyone other than myself. I guess for lots of people this is the same, but I want to change this, I want to make a conscious effort to make a difference where I can. I don't want to be another person to say that I will do this, I want to act on my thoughts and actively do something to help. I have spent a lot of time contemplating how I can do this, I have signed up to a lot of volunteering opportunities, looked at charity trips to Africa etc, never actually carrying out any of the ideas that came up. I decided I should start small, make changes to my life, and the way I live; reducing my carbon footprint, buying ethically etc.. This is basically what triggered the next stage of my journey; Fairtrade. I have known about Fairtrade and the work of the foundation for a while now (we are talking a few years here not just months) yet I have never consistently made an effort to buy everything that I can Fairtrade. I remember doing a bit for Fairtrade fortnight at college over the two years that I was there, however I never did anything that I can say proudly..."I organised this..." or "I helped achieve this...". So I took a step forward, a step towards a goal which I set myself...

GOAL ONE : Raise awareness of Fairtrade and the work of the foundation amongst friends, family, and the communities (at uni and home) that I live in.

I got in touch with a few people who I hoped would help me on my journey. I emailed the Fairtrade steering group for my home town and asked how I could help to raise awareness and help them to gain the Fairtrade status for the Town/Borough. I also emailed the Environment and Ethics officer at my University and asked about what had been organised for Fairtrade Fortnight and how I could get involved. I was overwhelmed by the speedy and informative emails back. I was able to start my journey sooner than I had expected. I got stuck in straight away and made sure that I didn't miss any opportunity to get involved. It was around this time that I was having to think of a topic for my dissertation. I had been through a variety of ideas and had met with my tutor to discuss them, and was thinking about carrying out a study about healthy food and healthy bodies in primary schools, then with all of the developments with my work with Fairtrade I couldn't think of a more appropriate topic to study, than the awareness of Fairtrade amongst young people, and from then on I knew that I was about to make a lot of changes to my life to succeed in achieving my goal. It would be time consuming and tiring but the achievement would be completely worth it. 

My Journey

I am one person and there is only so much that I can do on my own to make the changes that I hope can happen to create equal opportunities for everyone across the globe. I want to share my story and the stories of others to help people understand the small changes that need to be made by US to help others and ourselves. Working together we can collectively help to ensure future generations live in a more equal society

I have decided to start my journey here using this blog, and hopefully along the way, more people will join and follow me on my journey, and be inspired to start their own journey and talk about it.

TOGETHER we CAN make a difference, TOGETHER we count!